Green Builder Building Science
Sign Up for Building Science Updates

Refinish a Food-Safe Green Countertop with Pennies

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jun 17, 2014 9:28:00 AM

AN ARTICLE in Instructables caught my eye this morning. Someone posted about using pennies to recondition an old countertop and make it look like a million bucks: Just add pennies. While pennies are not free, they're easy enough to save over time, and before you know it, you'll have enough for a good-sized surface.pennycountertop.gbm

I love the look of these tops, but I wanted to make sure people don't accidentally add a buch of toxins to their kitchens. Even if you have an efficient range hood, some products offgass for months or even years. So i did a little research, looking for "best practices"  that would ensure three things: 1. durability, 2. food safety and 3. zero impact on indoor air quality.

The best approach is to use a two-part epoxy that will not only seal the tops of the pennies, but encapsulate them enough to make the surface relatively smooth for cleaning. Here's a no-VOC two-part epoxy that should do the trick. They even offer instructions for penny top installations.


"You will need to glue each penny down with Elmer's glue and then apply a seal coat of epoxy after the glue has dried. Next you will pour a flood coat of epoxy. Seal coat and flood coats are explained in the question above."

Keep in mind that you can't set a cooking pot on this surface (hot coffee cups are ok), and you won't want to cut on it with a knife. But if you treat it right, it will look beautiful, and should be highly stain resistant and tough for many years.-GB

© 2015, Green Builder Media. All rights reserved. This article is the exclusive property of Green Builder Media. If you would like to reprint this content, you are free to extract a short excerpt (no more than 1/4th of the total article), as long as you 1. credit the author, and 2. include a live link back to the original post on our site. Please contact a member of our editorial staff if you need more information.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Green Builder Media? Click here to become a blogger.

Topics: kitchen, countertops, salvaged materials, remodeling, refinishing, how to, do it yourself, surfaces

12 Step Program to Avoid Water Intrusion in Homes
RCI Building Envelope Technology Symposium 2015
New Call-to-action